Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Russian Campaign at Michael's - Part 6

(Click here or click on the Campaign 09: Russia menu item to see all the parts with the latest at the top)

Part 6 of the Battle of Smolensk in our Invasion of Russian in 1812 using 6mm Alder Napoleonics and Empire V (with mods) rules.

Ney has made massive progress on our right flank. He managed to produce a number of holes in the Russian lines along the ridgeline and beyond it. Through these holes, he pushed divisions of Cuirassiers who were able to turn a small fallback into fullon routs and small holes into an ever shrinking frontage.

Right along side them are the Hessian Guards still pushing their way forward after 1st being brought into combat hours ago.

On the extreme right flank, Ney's infantry managed to push force Russian guns from their fieldworks.

The situation on the French right. Hessian infantry and French Cuirassiers are seen on the enemy side of the ridgeline.

A close up of Ney's Cuirassiers continuing forward along with the Hessian Guards on their left.

Later in the hour the Cuirassiers manage to assault 2 Russian squares.

In the centre the Poles were stuck down against the combined arms of the Russians to their front. A cavalry charge by Russian medium cavalry convinced the majority of the Polish cavalry to "withdraw". The infantry however stood firm.

One my side of the battlefield, my lead division of Westphalians, the 24th Infantry Division was starting to show signs of stress.

A small stalemate had developed on the left with the 2nd brigade eyeing off Russian guns and a battalion of grenadiers in line while artillery tried to even the odds.

On the right of my attack, the 1st brigade was close to 50% casualties and was not scoring well against 2 russian grenadier battalions in line, causing chaos in my ranks.

I was able to deploy a number of artillery batteries which starting to take their toll on the 2 grenadier battalions, but it left them a little exposed and spare russian grenadier battalion in column successfully forced the horse guns to flee and overrun a 12 pounder battery of 8 guns. I could see the russian gunners from the 36 gun battery on my right regouping and attempting to move foward to reman their guns. I threw what was left of my 1st brigade into a firefight with the 2 grenadier battalions. I managed to hold my own and was repelled back but in good order. It was all the russian gunners needed and soon they were remanning about 21 of their guns, all of them being 12 pounders.

I pushed the brigade forward again but this time at personally led the charge. With their Corps Commander attached they could not lose ...

1st brigade routs with the remnants of Jerome's staff after he is shot dead leading the attack.

"Allow me to introduce myself. I am General Marchont, special Aide de Camp to his excellency, Emperor Napoleon. I was sent by the Emperor to personally lead the Vistula Legion of the Guard onto the field in support of the left flank, and there to place it under the command of the Emperor's brother Jerome, the King of Westphalia, commander of the 7th Corps.

When I arrived at the river on the south of the battlefield, I intercepted an urgent dispatch enroute to the headquarters from which I had just come from. I was shocked to learn of the King's death, shot at the head of his troops leading yet another attack on the enemy positions. Reports confirm he was instantly killed.

I now had a leaderless Corps on the edge of victory on this side of the battle and presumabley took the reins and rode forward to assume command until my Emperor would elect to see otherwise.

The brigade Jerome had lead forward on the right, was repulsed and had fled in disarray, along with his command staff. I managed to round up a few individuals and found the 2nd brigade was faltering on the left. I sent the Corps Artillery commander to the rear to try to rally as many troops as he and his staff could. In reality we did not have much of a command to continue with and the 25th Division, also Westphalian was already in position to begin their attack, along with their Cuirassier brigade beside them.

As I contemplated the future of the 24th, I noticed the cavalry brigade guarding our extreme left, who had been engaged in viscious charges and countercharges all morning with Russian Hussars, had finally lost their epic duel and was fleeing the battlefield.

The Westphalian cavalry engage the Russian Hussars yet again!

The Westphalian cavalry are finally broken and fall back.

I moved the Cuirassiers forward. The impact was instant. The russian gunners who had recently just recaptured their own guns, ran for their lives to a square formation in the immediate rear. I pulled the horsemen back, charging a square at this stage would only mess up our attack further. We needed to consolidate and rotate the 24th and 25th divisions under the watchful eyes of the heavy horse.

At that stage the remnants of the 24th had had enough. What remained began streaming back through and around the 25th in droves. I gave a nod to those men as they fled the field, some with tears on their faces. They had taken the fight to some of the best soldiers Russia could offer and stormed into the face of Russian guns and canister and fought like lions and were just too exhausted to continue. They would recover, but right now I had to get aggressive.

The situation at the end of the hour. 25th Division is ready to take up the baton while the Cuirassiers move forward on the right.

It was at this time I noticed signs that maybe, just maybe, the Russians may decide to withdraw and the call the day. I could spot Russian Guard cavalry moving behind the enemy positions to my extreme left flank. Not good. But some of the infantry were actually moving back and into lines and squares. I knew the attack on the right under Ney was going well. Could it be going THAT well?

Russian Guard cavalry move on the extreme left flank.

Jerome's staff flee for their lives.

... to be continued ...

(Click here or click on the Campaign 09: Russia menu item to see all the parts with the latest at the top)

1 comment:

Stokes Schwartz said...

Wonderful battle panoramas and descrption! Makes me want to get back into Napoleonics in a big way. Well done!

Best Regards,

Stokes Schwartz